Spare Change - June 2022
What is the scariest passage of scripture in the Bible? R.C. Sproul said it is Matthew 7:21-23 in a sermon called "Build on the Rock". Read this passage and see if you agree.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
This passage tells us that not everyone that claims to know Jesus is a believer. This is certainly a scary passage. Just claiming allegiance to Jesus is not enough. Just knowing His name and who He is not enough. Even doing works in the name of Jesus is not enough. This strikes deep at the concept of assurance. It begs the question, “How do I know that I am saved?”
Jesus is addressing false Christians in Matthew 7:15-27. From this text we can learn what a true believer is and what it is not. From this passage we can ask ourselves four
questions and know for certain if we are saved.
1. Is my faith rooted in the gospel?
The implication in this passage is that false Christians are not rooted in the true gospel. They know some things about Christianity and even do things that make them look like Christians; however, in this passage they are called workers of lawlessness which means they never really believed in the true gospel. If you believe in Jesus like it says in Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 10:9-10,13 then you have nothing to fear.
2. Do I bear good fruit?
In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus says that you will recognize the false prophets by their fruit. They may look like all the other believers at first but if the product of their faith is rotten fruit, then you can know for sure they are not true believers. Those of us that are true believers, while not perfect, will reflect the good fruits of the faith like evangelism, discipleship, obedience to Christ, spiritual disciplines, walking in the spirit, etc.
3. Is my life built on the Word of God?
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus shows us another way to know if we are a true believer. True believers will hear God’s Word and build their life on it. This means they learn it and apply it to their lives. It becomes their foundation for living. When we do this, we can face any storm or trial of life and survive. False believers will not be able to stand when hardships come because their life was not truly built on God’s Word.
4. Does Jesus know me?
Finally, in Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus keys in on something very important. He says the defining factor of a true believer is not whether we claim to know Jesus, rather it is whether Jesus knows us. The gospel draws us into a relationship with Jesus. Yes, He is our Lord, but the relationship goes even deeper. He is our everything! It truly is a relationship built on the gospel. The outworking of that relationship is love. Jesus loves us and we love Him. This love is displayed in how we learn, obey, and follow Him. If we truly have a relationship with Him then He knows us and we have no need to fear.
Matthew 7:21-23 can be the scariest passage in the Bible, it serves as a warning for all those that call themselves believers. Those of us that have trusted in the gospel of Jesus for salvation have nothing to fear. Keep following Jesus and doing the things He has commanded us to do. For those that might be thinking, “I might be a false believer”, it is not too late. Turn to Jesus today for salvation. Cry out to Him, He will hear you, and save you today. Then this passage will not be so scary but rather a constant reminder of the grace and mercy of God.